Friday, March 24, 2006

NAMB: Board restricts President

... via "executive level controls". Is it coincidence, or conspiracy that the two greatest mission agencies in history are both under attack?

Baptist Press is reporting ...
Robert Reccord, NAMB, Missions, SBC, Southern BaptistsRobert E. (Bob) Reccord, president of the Southern Baptist North American Mission Board, will work under several sets of "Executive Level controls" signaled by NAMB's trustees during a special meeting March 23.

The trustees based their deliberations on a 19-page report by a nine-member trustee task force created in response to an article in the Georgia Baptist Convention's newsjournal, The Christian Index, which set forth a range of allegations about NAMB's evangelism and church planting strategies; the size and makeup of its missionary force; and management issues related to Reccord.
The desire for openness at NAMB's BoT is refreshing in the light of what's going on over at IMB BoT. Hard to believe they're part of the same faith family.
"We want the Southern Baptist Convention to know we've responded to the issues [through the task force report] and because of that response we believe that you can trust what we're doing here at NAMB," trustee chairman Barry Holcomb said in a news conference after the meeting.

"We want Southern Baptists to know you can trust the North American Mission Board to take your Cooperative Program dollars that you generously give through the state conventions," Holcomb said, "and you can trust us with your Annie Armstrong Easter Offering to be on mission and to do the work of God's Kingdom."
Reccord may have taken his eyes off the road for a moment ... perhaps this will be good for the Kingdom as a whole; it won't if NAMB's BoT behaves as its sister agency has.
Reccord has been NAMB's president since its founding in 1997 as part of the Southern Baptist Convention's restructuring, called "Covenant for a New Century."
The fact that BP was given the board's accountability controls and that the BoT has not muzzled its members is helpful for those of us left watching the army's baggage.
Under the accountability plan for Reccord, a trustee subcommittee will be appointed by Holcomb "to develop a set of Executive Level controls to be used as a guide" related to various issues raised in the Feb. 16 Christian Index article.

The subcommittee, which Holcomb said he hopes to name during the coming month, will propose controls for:
1) "directing the travel, speaking, and on-campus office time required for the President...."

2) "the use of RFP's" (Request For Proposals), akin to bidding to compete for work being outsourced by NAMB.

3) "when the President ... wants to develop new initiatives, including the appropriate oversight and approval by the Board."

4) "clarifying what constitutes poor management by an executive officer and how it should be handled."

5) providing Reccord and NAMB "with greater levels of accountability to the Board and the Southern Baptist Convention."

Under the sixth part of the plan, the board assigned "its duly elected officers, in perpetuity, with the role of monitoring these controls, utilizing them as part of the President's annual review, and reporting the status of these controls annually at an assigned full Board meeting." [...]

Reccord said in a statement: "I am thankful that the trustee process worked. That's why we have such a process. While we jointly found opportunities and areas on which to strengthen and improve, I celebrate the fact that the deep and thorough financial and practices audit gave us a clean bill of health, including the status and history of our reserves."
And the following, if genuine is certainly encouraging ...
Holcomb said Reccord told the trustees "that he understands that, as president of this agency, he is under our directorship. ... He said, 'I am willing to work with the trustees in whatever parameters we need to,' in order to address the concerns that Southern Baptists may have about the North American Mission Board. ...

"I don't want to speak for him, but I think it would be alright to say he recognizes, just like all of us, that he's not perfect and we're not perfect, and there are certain areas that we need to improve," Holcomb said. "I think the recommendations that the board adopted today will help him. I think in that sense he is very happy to follow this process."

"[Reccord's] job is not in jeopardy," Holcomb said, noting that no disciplinary measures were taken by the board; "we found nothing to sustain any kind of thought of wrongdoing, anything unethical, anything immoral ... .
Keep on with the candor and the biblical openness and we'll support your Kingdom efforts.

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